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Us 41, Pentagon 18, Vermont 16, United States 9, Afghanistan 7, Mr. Reid 6, Iraq 6, Mr. Durbin 6, North Carolina 5, Romney 5, Colorado 5, New York 4, U.s. 4, Illinois 4, Chicago 4, Navy 3, United 3, Leon Panetta 3, Osama Bin 3, Mr. Udall 3,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    September 11, 2012
    9:00 - 11:59am EDT  

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poor, research on drugs and so forth and so forth. can you please tell us what percent of total federal outlays are now going to what you call defense, including the war budgets perhaps and what percent of discretionary spending is devoted to defense, where the real choices are made between defense and in general terms social spending? thank you. >> i have some numbers i can give yu. this is not exhaustive by any means. in president obama's fy13 budget request, 15% of the total federal budget goes to the department of defense, excluding war funding. there is an additional $88.5 billion of war funding in there as well. social security gets 23% of the
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federal budget and medicare gets 14%. medicaid gets 7%. 6% goes to interest on the national debt. that is actually going to explode over the next decade and by the end of the decade we will very likely be spending more on and just on the national debt than we do on defense are medicare and medicaid. and about 14% of the federal budget goes to all non-defense discretionary spending, so social security and medicare and medicaid is primarily a mandatory spending programs of talking about the discretionary part of the budget here. that gives you an idea of the order of magnitude. the big items in the federal budget, of course on one side of the equation you have got revenues and on the other side you have got the big ones that are social security, defense and medicare. those are the big one so if you want to frame this as a simple choice or a priority, it's among those things. what are you going to do with revenues? what you want do you want to do
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with social security and medicare both of which are programs for the elderly or defense so those are your big choices in your federal budget. see how is it that you laid out the numbers for the planned up obama budget? what is your rough scenario for a planned previously said if they actually carried it out and it goes up i roughly 40%? how did that change those numbers there? >> i have not projected out the other categories. a lot of these probe lands, social security and medicare and medicaid are basically on autopilot because they are mandatory programs. the law of congress congress does not have to appropriate separate money for these programs each year. so those programs will probably stay on the track they are now so which means they will actually grow as a percentage of the federal budget over the years because they are going faster than inflation and federal spending and defense would also grow. then what gives? if revenues don't go up, which
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is the point romney has said, revenue stayed at about the same to cut rates and you would eliminate some deductions so it balances out. you have got your revenue side of the equation that is basically the same in your spending is going up in all categories like social security, medicare, defense, and medicaid would go down under romney. if you look at the rhine plan, that is what they are talking about doing, block granting it and cutting the amount and then that 14% for on non-defense discretionary spending, that includes the foreign affairs budgets from the state department and includes homeland security and includes veterans benefits. some of the veterans then if it's discretionary some are mandatory and things like faa. nih, medical research, science and technology, all of that. that would have to be cut and it would have to decode pretty steeply to make all of this add up or the other alternative is
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you don't get any more in revenue and you spend more on some of these programs. you hold some of the programs relatively flat or decrease them and you just run a higher deficit. that is obviously an option and we have a big history of doing that in this country. >> very quick way, to summarize, the 15% of the federal budget that president obama wants to spend on defense now, not counting war funds, governor romney in the short term would spend about 16.5 or 17% on the federal budget so 15 versus 16.5217. now if governor romney overtime were to hold himself to the exasperation of goal, the gulf between romney and obama grows much wider so maybe by 2017 at something like 13% for obama in 19% for romney, something like that but in the short term it's more like 15% of federal
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spending versus 16.5 or 17%. >> we are getting to the bewitching hour here so if you have any closing broader thoughts, perhaps we will go in the same order. >> just very quickly and thank you for being here. either candidate is going to have to come up with innovative defense policies because neither one has the money. governor romney a think his aspirations are less realistic but nonetheless they are both looking at defense plans that are going to need to be rethought in some way. he needs some innovation in how we deal with defense problems. sometimes it's going to be old-fashioned issues just sort of tightening belts and in other cases it may mean new innovative ways on operating on military forces. instead of expecting the navy fleet to get better we may have to find a way to make do with it staying at its current size are being smaller and one way you do that as is this idea of having
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crews fly from the united states to overseas operating theaters to replace each other to a policy sometimes called cruise swaps or think swaps. it's hard to do and in fairness to the navy it's already been done on some ships and in fairness to the navy so i think that's the kind of idea that needs to be expanded and generalize because we need more innovative ways of using late lamented -- limited sources of what we are to have. >> going forward regardless of who is president the administration may change but the math remains the same. there are some hard fiscal issues they will have to deal with an and defense is going to have hard strategic choices and i look forward to getting past the election when we can see whatever administration is in charge and what they start to do in terms of making the strategic choices but the longer you wait the tougher the decisions get. this idea that both sides are
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pursuing, setting a particular budget target and saying that is what we are going to stick to and fill in the strategy behind it i think is not a good approach. i go back to the election. we have moved beyond that. slogans like 4% of gdp, 4% for freedom may sound appealing to people but alliteration is not a strategy. at some point you have really got to put something behind it and justify that. and my last point is defense is a relatively small issue in this election. as much as we would like it to be a larger issue is a larger issue for us personally, but even the defense issue itself isn't really about defense. it's about the budget and that budget depends more on what happened outside of defense in terms of tax revenues, in terms of entitlement spending and non-defense discretionary spending. that is what it depends on. defense is what really rolls out after these bigger issues in
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terms of public perception the bigger issues have been decided. >> just a big detail on what todd just said. i was thinking earlier some of the numbers on the polling data that peter provided earlier, about 5% economy being at 55% and national defense down to 5% or even less because it is not the central issue on the minds of the american people and therefore it is not the central issue on the minds of the people in congress or the president or the campaign so you have to deal with the reality of what it is we have got and what we have got is not a bright horizon opening up in another couple of months but a continued drizzle and we are going to have to live with that whoever wins the election and we have to live i think and i can argue but i'm afraid because i have so much respect for that guy, but there is a point at which the american
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people if if you followed mike's line of recent, this is a wonderful time to live better. in the old days, people still had the feeling in the family that the kid was going to live a better life than the father and that is not the case we have now. that is a huge change in the sociology and the mentality of this country. and that says a lot about where we are and i think we simply have to grow up and understand the face of change and we are not going to have it the way it was. >> in closing for me, it's striking between the large number of important issues that are out there especially in defense and whatever the ones that we don't yet know about in the 2000 election and what did the winner of that end up dealing with for the next eight years? despite that, there are a series
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of questions that we don't have the answers yet from the candidates. there is a series of assumptions that they are making in their plans that remain untested and there is also a series of myths, falsehoods whatever way you want to describe about the post-truth politics of the day that need to be knocked down and hitting those three is something that i believe falls to us. it falls to us in the research community and it falls to us in the media and falls to false to us in the public to be able to force the candidates to be able to test those assumptions and knocked down those myths so we thank you all for being a part of this process today. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> we are live this morning at the pentagon for a remembrance
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ceremony honoring the victims of the september 11 attacks on this day 11 years ago hijacked airlines flight crashed into the west side of the pentagon killing all 59 passengers on board as well as 125 people in the building. as guests continue to arrive at the site, the ceremony will unfold this morning. coming up at 9:37 there will be a moment of silence. that will be followed by remarks from president obama, secretary leon panetta and and and joint chiefs of staff general martin dempsey. >> who perished during the attack on the pentagon on september 11, 2001. we have -- please listen now as the navy brass quintet plays a prelude concert.
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[background sounds] at this time president barack obama accompanied by michelle obama, secretary leon panetta and martin dempsey will pay special tribute to the lives lost at the pentagon and on american airlines flight 77 on september 11, 2001. by placing a wreath at the zero line at the pentagon memorial.
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[background sounds] >> please direct your attention to the pentagon memorial flagpole to your right and honor of patriot day and in remembrance of the 184 lives lost at the pentagon. the flag is flying at half-staff. ladies and gentlemen, the national anthem of the united states. ♪
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>> ladies and gentlemen, the united states army chief of chaplains, major general donald some for. >> let us pray. remember the events of september 11, 2001 and pray for all those who grieve today, for those who witnessed and survived the attacks, those he came to rescue, to save and protect all the souls who were lost remembering especially those whose names are eternally etched into this memorial. on a day when the force was visited upon our nation our spirits are forever inspired by the acts of valor that we witnessed at ground zero here at
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the pentagon. we pray for the selfless men and women who have been called to defend our country and freedom both at home and abroad. inspired by their legacies, we ask for continued courage and strength of spirit, to faithfully serve our military and our nation. we are thankful that in our time of loss, you did not abandon us to our grief. that we may do your work showing peace with justice, offering forgiveness and building community, launching with others into abundant life for all. as we join in prayer this day, in your holy name we pray, amen. >> 11 years ago at 9:the --
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9:37 a.m. the pentagon was attacked. please join us in observing a moment of silence to remember those who perished. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general martin dempsey. >> mr. president, mrs. obama, mr. secretary and distinguished guests good morning and thank you all for being here. my wife and i offer a special welcome to the families and friends of those we lost on
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these grounds 11 years ago today. one of them was chief warrant officer william ruth whose memorial bench of granite and steel sits in the last row in front of me seventh and from the far right. he served as a marine in vietnam flying helicopters. after the war he became a social studies teacher and joined the army national guard, serving in the first gulf war as a medevaced pilot. he was loved by his students. they were proud of his service and moved by his deep commitment to them and to our nation. one student said, he opened up my eyes and my heart to the world. many others inspired by his example became teachers, nurses, firefighters and several followed him into the life of the military. bill retired from the classroom after nearly 30 years and returned to serve in the pentagon. there is no doubt among his colleagues that he lost his life that fateful morning because in the middle of the chaos he stopped to help somebody.
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there were thousands like bill that day. they remind us that life takes on meaning only as the causes to which we attach ourselves have meaning. that in me and, we become what we are through some cause we make our own. september 11 will always stand apart from other days, not because of what we say up here about service and sacrifice, courage and character. of corsets all of those things but also because of what those things say about all of us, all americans. so today as we remember the 184 lives that ended here and all who perished in new york in somerset county pennsylvania but us commit ourselves to the ideals for which they lived in which they believe. let us also honor the generation they inspired to step forward to defend our nation, a generation generation who fought in iraq and to still fight in afghanistan. lettuce rededicate our own lives to the cause of giving back to our great nation.
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four is one of our nations leaders said, the strength of our democracy has always rested on the willingness of those who believe in its values and in their will to serve, to give something back to this country and now it's my privilege to introduce to you the man who spoke those words and who lives them every day, our secretary of defense, leon panetta. [applause] >> mr. president, mrs. obama, general dempsey, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, and in particular the family members who lost a loved one here on 9/11, 11 years ago on a morning very much like this, terrorists attacked the symbols of american strength, our
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economy and our commerce, our military might and our democracy. and took the lives of citizens for more than 90 countries. it was the worst terrorist attack on america in our history. today, people gather across the united states, around the world to remember the tragic events of 9/11. some take part in ceremonies like this, other spend others spend time with quiet reflection, prayer and all of us take a moment to remember again where we were at that fateful moment. here together as one family, we
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pause to honor and to pray and to remember 184 lives lost at the pentagon, more than 2700 killed in lower manhattan and the 40 who perished in that field in pennsylvania on flight 93. these victims families remember those who were lost as mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. the family members here today know that the entire nation, the entire nation, joins you in mourning the loss of your loved ones. we are honored by your presence and just as your loved ones are heroes forever, so are all of
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you. today we also recognize and remember other heroes, those first responders who rushed to the scene behind me, into the fire and chaos to save lives and help in anyway possible. we owe all of you a very special debt. we appreciate all you did to provide aid and comfort to those who needed it so badly. our thoughts also turn to the survivors. on that bright sunny tuesday morning, he reported to work with no idea about the tragedy that lay ahead. suddenly, this building was rocked by an explosion. after the impact, many of you risked your lives to help others. many can remember the smell of the rubble and the jet fuel.
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some of you knew the victims as office mates and friends and knew their families. like 60 years before, a nation at peace suddenly found itself at war. for all of you, and for every american, this memorial is a permanent place for prayer and for remembrance. and it is a fitting tribute to the lives of those so cruelly taken from us, passengers and crew from flight 77, military and civilian personnel working here at the pentagon. it is a fitting tribute to all of those who were lost. yesterday i had the opportunity to visit another memorial, the flight 93 national memorial in
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shanksville. i was reminded of those horrible moments after the hijacking when the passengers and crew were able to make frantic calls to speak to their loved ones for the last time. they knew what was at stake and yet they decided to fight back. together they took swift and decisive action to stop yet another attack targeted at the nation's capital. spirit of selflessness, that spirit of determination and courage is the enduring legacy of 9/11. it inspires our nation. it inspires our military to ensure that such an attack will never happen again. it inspires us to never forget those who perished to defend our homeland, to defend our ideals,
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to send a resounding message to our enemies that no one attacks the united states of america and gets away with it. for today, we also recall that out of the shock and the sadness of 9/11 came a new sense of unity and resolve, that this would not happen again. it inspired a fierce determination to fight back and protect our way of life. in trying to attack our strengths, the terrorists unleashed our greatest strength, the spirit and the will of americans to fight for their country. millions of americans responded, a whole new and great generation stepped forward to serve in uniform, to fight this war on
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terrorism. dave relentlessly pursued those who would do us harm. they put their lives on the line to give all of us a safer and better future and to bring those behind these attacks to justice. because of their sacrifices, because they were willing to fight and to die, because of their dedication, our nation is stronger and safer today than on 9/11. we never gave up the search for bin laden. we successfully brought him to justice. we decimated the leadership of al qaeda. we found them on the run. we have made it difficult for them to plan and conduct another 9/11 attack and while that group is still a threat, we dealt them a heavy blow and we will continue to fight them in yemen,
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somalia, in north africa, wherever they go, to make sure they have no place to hide. our troops denied safe haven to al qaeda and its allies in afghanistan. if they are fighting so afghanistan can secure and govern itself. make no mistake, we will continue to pursue and fight our enemies wherever they go, wherever they hide, wherever they try to find refuge. we will never stop until we have made sure that america is safe. on this day of solemn remembrance, let us renew a solemn pledge to those who died on 9/11 and their families. it is a pledge we also make to all of those who put their lives on the line and who has paid a heavy price for the last 11 years of war.
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our pledges to keep fighting for a safer and stronger future. our pledge is to ensure that america always remains a government of, by and for all people. that pledge, that legacy makes clear that no one, no one who died on that terrible day 11 years ago died in vain. they died for a stronger america. this morning we are honored by the presence of our military and civilian leaders and we are particularly honored by the presence of the president and mrs. obama. this president has led our efforts in this fight and i am honored -- it's an honor to serve with him in it is now my great honor to introduce our commander in chief. ladies and gentlemen, president
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barack obama. [applause] >> secretary panetta, general dempsey, members of our armed forces and most importantly to the families, the survivors and loved ones of those we lost, michelle and i are humbled to join you again on this solemn anniversary. today, we remember a day that began like so many others. there were rides to school and commutes to work, early routines, quick hugs and quiet moments. it was the day like this one, a clear blue sky, but a sky that would soon be filled with clouds of smoke and prayers of a nation
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shaken to its core. even now, all these years later, it is easy for those of us who lived through that day to close our eyes and to find ourselves back there, back here, back when it crashed over us like an awful wave and americans everywhere held each other tight, seeking the reassurance that the world we knew wasn't crumbling under our feet. 11 times other september 11 have come and gone and other times we have paused in remembrance and in reflection, in unity and in purpose. this is never an easy day, but it is especially difficult for all of you. the families of nearly 3000
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innocents who lost their lives. your mothers and fathers, your husbands and wives, and your sons and your daughters. they were taken from a suddenly and far too soon. to you and your families, the rest of us cannot begin to imagine the pain you have endured these many years. we will never fully understand how difficult it has been for you to carry on and to summon that strength to rebuild your lives. but no matter how many years pass, no matter how many times we come together on this hallowed ground, note this, that you will never be alone. your loved ones will never be forgotten. they will endure in the hearts of our nation, because through their sacrifice they helped us make the america we are today. an america that has emerged even
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stronger. most of the americans we lost that day had never considered the possibility that a small band of terrorists halfway around the world could do with such harm. most had never heard the name al qaeda and yet it is because of their sacrifice that we have come together and dealt a crippling blow to the organization that brought evil to our shores. al qaeda's leadership has been devastated and osama bin laden will never threaten us again. our country is safer and our people are resilient. it's true the majority of those who died on september 11 had never put on our country's uniform and yet they inspired more than 5 million americans, members of the 9/11 generation, to wear that uniform over the last decade. these men and women have done everything that we have asked. today, the war in iraq is over and afghanistan and we are
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training afghan security forces d forging a partnership with the afghan people. and by the end of 2014, the longest war in our history will be over. meanwhile, civilians have opened their hearts to our troops, our military families and our veterans. 11 years ago memorial services were held for americans from different races and creeds, back rounds in beliefs and yet instead of turning us against each other, tragedy has brought us together. i have always said that our fight is with al qaeda and its affiliates, not with islam or any other religion. this country was built as a beacon of freedom and tolerance. that is what has made a strong. and now and forever. finally, when those innocent souls were taken from us they left behind and unfulfilled work
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and tasks that remain undone and that is why on a day when other sought to bring this country down, we chose to build it up with a national day of service and remembrance. scripture tells us not to be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. there is no better way to honor the best in those who died than by discovering the best in ourselves. this anniversary allows us to renew our faith, that even the darkest night gives way to a better don. today we can come here to the pentagon and touch these names and kneel beside a building where a single stone still bears the scars of that fire. we can visit the field of honor in pennsylvania and remember the heroes have made us safer. we can seawater cascading into the footprints of the twin towers and gaze up at the new
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tower rising above the new york skyline. even though we may never able -- be able to fully lift the burden carried by those left behind, we know that somewhere the sun is growing up with in his father's eyes and a daughter has her mother's laugh. living reminders that those who died are with us still. as painful as this day is and always will be, it leaves us with a less than. that no single event can ever destroy who we are. no act of terrorism can ever change what we stand for. instead we recommit ourselves to the values that we believe in, holding firmly without wavering to the hope that we confess. that is the commitment that we reaffirm today. and that his wife in the when the history books are written, the true legacy of 9/11 will not
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the one of fear or hate or division. it will be a safer world, a stronger nation and a people more united than ever before. god bless the memories of those we lost and god bless these united states of america. [applause] ♪ ♪
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we are leaving the pentagon 9/11 remembrance ceremony at this point to go live to the u.s. senate. a quick reminder you can continue watching live coverage on line at c-span.org. the u.s. senate u.s. senate as about to gavel in for the day. lawmakers are expected to consider a bill dealing with training for veterans looking for civilian jobs but also give veterans referential treatment. at 12:30 eastern they will recess for weekly party lunches lunches and when they returned they will hold a procedural vote on the veterans jobs bill. live coverage now of the u.s.d e senate here on c-span2. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, the source of our being, on this 11th anniversary of
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september, we pause to remember how you sustain us even through life's tragedies. recalling the deaths and injuries, the heroism and the patriotism, it's easy for us to be thankful for your presence and power. continue to guide this land we love on the labyrinthine path to greatness, protecting it from dangers seen and unseen, as you heal its doubts and divisions. use our senators for your glory as our nation seeks to truly be the land of the free and the home of the brave.
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we pray in your sacred name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., september 11, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable richard blumenthal, a senator from the state of connecticut, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
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majority leader. mr. reid: i move to proceed to calendar number 476. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 476, s. 3457, a bill to require the secretary of veterans affairs to establish a veterans job corps, and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president, the first hour will be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. the majority will control the first half. republicans the final half. at 11:00 this morning there will be a moment of silence here in the senate in observance of the 11th anniversary of the attacks on september 11. the senate will recess from 12:30 until 2:15 for our weekly caucus meetings that will occur today. at 2:15 there will be a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to s. 3457, the veterans job corps act. mr. presiden i am told there are three bills at the desk due for their second reading.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bills for the second time. the clerk: h.r. 8, an act to extend certain tax relief provisions enacted in 2001 and 2003 and so forth and for other purposes. s. 3522, a bill to provide for the expansion of affordable refinancing of mortgages held by the federal national mortgage association and the federal home loan mortgage corporation. s. 3525, a bill to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting, and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: we have for many, many years, the democratic senators have gathered over in -- i'm sorry, mr. president. i should have objected to all of those, so i hope you'll forgive me for not doing it. i now object to all three bills we just read for the second
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time. the presiding officer: the objection having been heard, the bills will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: mr. president, just a short ways from this chamber, s.209, we've been meeting for many, many years as a senate, democratic leadership to discuss the issues of the week. we just finished a meeting. part of the discussion today in that meeting was what happened 11 years ago the exact same time as we remember meeting there. i can remember that so clearly, i will never, never forget that. it's implanted in my mind so clearly. i was the first one to get to that meeting, and senator breaux from louisiana came in and said there's something going on in new york. let's turn on the tv, and we
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did. senators started coming in, and it appeared that an airplane hit the, one of the towers, and we were wondering why it would have done that. something obviously was wrong. and so the meeting, senator daschle was the leader and he started the meeting, and the tv was off. and the meeting was just getting started, and someone came in to take senator daschle out of that meeting. and he came back very quickly, and he said there's a plane headed for the capitol, and we all have to vacate the capitol. everybody. and so the alarm went out, and people were rushing down these halls leaving. i can remember leaving that room over here, looking out the window and seeing the smoke billowing from what we learn now was the pentagon. it was on fire. the plane had hit that. there was still one plane in the air, and that was headed for the
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capitol. even though, as i've indicated, that was 11 years ago, i remember the sight as if it were yesterday. we had many meetings in that room, and i often think of what transpired that morning as i looked out toward the pentagon. mr. president, over the last decade our country has begun to heal from the wounds of that terrible, terrible attack, an attack by terrorists. the scars remain. the scars are deeper with some than others, but no matter how many years pass, we'll never forget the thousands of innocent people who died in new york, pennsylvania, across the river here in virginia. there were mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, spouses and friends. all they were doing is their
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jobs and others were just catching a plane to go visit loved ones, business trips. so it's good that we pause each year to pay tribute and to remember. that will occur here on the senate floor as i announced it. there will be a ceremony out in front of the capitol at the same time. the memories of that dark day in our shared history are very painful, but they give me hope as well. they give me hope because on september 11, during the difficult months that followed americans showed the world how a unified nation can fight back against darkness and fear. democrats weren't alone fighting back. republicans weren't alone fighting back. we were all fighting back together. in the face of great evil -- and that's what it was -- there were so many that rushed forward to show great courage, enormous dignity and kindness.
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so today we also pause to remember the firefighters who rushed into the world trade center knowing they might never come out, and they didn't come out a lot of them. we pause to remember the police officers and rescue workers who hurried to the scene, combed through the debris and shepherded new yorkers to safety. some of them gave their lives that day. we pause to remember the bravery of the members of our nation's armed forces, our intelligence community and foreign services as well as the sacrifices of their families. they have worn the burdens of war for more than a decade. they have given their blood, sweat and too often their lives to the effort to crush al qaeda and bring osama bin laden to justice and keep america safe. i would pause to remember the unbreakable spirit of those valiant people, and certainly the united states of america.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: in the course of a lifetime, one always remembers those moments of national grief and anxiety. they don't happen very often. in my parents' generation it was where were you when you heard about the japanese attack on pearl harbor? when i was a young man, and my friend the majority leader, was a young man it was where were you when you heard about the assassination of president kennedy? with the current generation it was, of course, where were you when you heard about 9/11? as the majority leader has indicated, it was for us here at the capitol, kind of close up and personal, if you will.
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i recall being late that morning, and as a result of not having yet gotten to work, i saw, as millions of americans did, the second plane go into the second building in real time. as the majority leader has indicated, the building was subsequently evacuated and people scattered around town. and at the end of this horrendous and frightening day, we all gathered on the steps of the capitol to sing "god bless america." it was one of the most uplifting and unifying moments in the history of our country. and i think it's safe to say that we are as a nation together, even though we have our political differences, together and stronger in the wake of what happened. in what is now a time-honored
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tradition, later this morning we'll gather on the capitol steps to mark the solemn anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. it's fitting that we remember the thousands of innocent men and women who died that morning 11 years ago and that despite our political differences, we remember the unity and resolve we all felt that day. in the days and weeks that followed these horrific attacks on our homeland, we were united by a common grief and outrage. some wondered what the future would bring. but 11 years later, i think i can say that america is stronger than it was on 9/11. so today we honor the sacrifice of those who died that day and the millions who have stepped forward to defend the nation and the armed forces and intelligence services in the
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years since, especially those who have given their lives in that service. on 9/11, we showed the world that america does not shrink from a challenge. and every day since courageous men and women have humbled us through their courage and sacrifice on our behalf. today is a day to show them our deep gratitude and to renew our commitment to live lives worthy of their sacrifice. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the next hour will be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees with the majority controlling the first half. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois.
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mr. durbin: mr. president, it's difficult to come to the floor of the senate on this anniversary of 9/11 and not reflect on your own experience. i was in the same room as the majority leader, harry reid, just a few steps away from the senate chamber when we witnessed the second plane, on television witnessed the second plane crashing into the world trade center and realized it was no accident. and then the black smoke billowing over the mall from the pentagon, a suggestion that we were under attack. and as we evacuated this building and rushed outside, standing in a crowd around, not knowing which way to turn, where was there a safe place to go? no one knew. some tourists coming up to me saying we're new here. where are we supposed to go next? there was no place to tell them. we knew union station was nearby and the metro station not far away, but no place to turn. i might add parenthetically that the decision was made shortly
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thereafter to build the visitors center. it took years to do it. it is an underground facility which is safe and i'm glad we have it. it's being used every single day and is an important addition to the capitol. president george w. bush faced that extraordinary challenge as commander in chief and president of the united states to deal with 9/11. there were some aspects of his response which i may have disagreed with, but i certainly commend him still for his leadership in that anxious moment after the tragedy of 9/11. i especially want to thank him and commend him for reminding us time and time again when he was president that our enemies are not the people of the islamic religion nor those of the sikh religion. our enemies are those who corrupt religion in the name of terrorism. many people of the muslim faith in america, good, patriotic americans faced discrimination simply because those who were perpetrators of 9/11 claimed to
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have shared that religion. it is a good day to be reminded of george w. bush's thoughtful leadership in telling us our enemy is not islamic, our enemy are those who corrupt the religion in the name of terrorism. i also received a note in august from two friends of mine who live in north carolina, in new bern, north carolina, ed and beth edmondson. i met them several years ago in chicago when their son eric, who was a veteran of the u.s. army serving in iraq, was hospitalized in that city. what a story. eric edmondson had been serving our country and was injured, and during the course of his injuries and subsequent treatment, he became quadriplegic, and after months and months of effort, the
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veterans administration basically told his family there was no place to turn. they said to his father you're going to have to buy him a wheelchair and find a place for him in a nursing home facility. eric was a young man, obviously, and married with a little baby at home. his dad and mom showed the kind of courage and love which just touches your heart. ed edmondson said my son in his 20's is not going into a nursing home. i won't let it happen. i'm going to find a place that will treat him. and he ended up finding on his own the rehab institute of chicago, which is one of the best hospitals in the world, and eric was a patient there, going through rehabilitation from his injuries that he suffered in iraq. that's when i met his parents. they invited me to come see him and i did and promised that i would return, and i did just a
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few weeks later to visit. they said eric has a gift for you. eric, who would smile but didn't speak, was sitting in his wheelchair. his mother and father came over to his side. each grabbed an elbow and stood him up and he took three steps. it was an amazing emotional moment. there wasn't a dry eye in that hospital room. they put him back in his wheelchair and his dad said my son is going to walk out of this hospital in his full dress uniform. can you make it? we'd like to have you there. i said i wouldn't miss it. well, a lot of us were there. the mayor of the city of chicago, many elected officials and all of the news cameras to watch this heroic young man walk out of the rehab institute of chicago, just a few steps, but in his full dress uniform with a smile on his face. he went home to new bern, north carolina, and his father literally left his business and moved in, father and mother, moved in with eric, his wife and baby and tried to make a life for him.
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the wonderful organizations and people in that community built a home that was wheelchair accessible for the whole family, and i went to visit him there in north carolina. they were taking eric hunting. he was involved in many things in rehabilitation. they sent a card, a family card with pictures of all of them, and it's a joy to see them. one of the last things that eric's father asked me to do was to look at a piece of legislation that hillary clinton had introduced but had not passed. it was called the caregivers act. the caregivers act said if a disabled veteran comes home and has the loving care of a member of the family and can stay home, we should try to help that member of the family provide -- of the family, provide them with the training they need to take care of the disabled vet at home, give them a respite or visiting nurses from the v.a. so that they can have some time to themselves, and if there is an economic hardship on the family,
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give them a stipend, a monthly stipend so they can continue in their home. i called then-senator clinton and said can i take up the bill now that you're off to the state department. she said please do. i did. thanks to the great support of senator dan akaka and senator patty murray, we passed it. the caregivers act now is helping literally hundreds, hundreds of caregivers, family caregivers across the united states care for their disabled veteran at home. it is helping the edmondson family and families that i have met in illinois. i tell that story because when we talk of the real cost of 9/11, it is not only the massive tragedy of the lives that were lost on that day and the families affected by those lives and those wonderful first responders who risked and gave their lives, but it's also the lives of the men and women in uniform who served us well, many of whom are carrying the scars of war for the rest of their lifetime who still will always need our commitment and fervent
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devotion to make sure that they are taken care of. the edmondson family in north carolina comes to mind immediately and so many others just like them as a reminder of what we need to do, the obligations we have as a government to the people who have served us so well in the military. mr. president, we have a bill that's coming up here, and i hope that we can in that same spirit consider it on a bipartisan basis and pass it. it's an effort to give returning veterans a better chance to get a job. it's a disappointment. more than that, it's a disgrace that many of these veterans come home and find themselves unemployed and sometimes even homeless. this veteran job corps act, which is coming up before the senate this afternoon, should pass with an overwhelming vote. this bill is fully paid for, and it is a bill that senator murray has brought to the floor, along with the leadership of senator bill nelson of florida who has
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been especially dedicateed to this proposal. president obama first mentioned it in his state of the union address. it includes several veterans employment initiatives like the improved one-stop shop centers for job searching and smoother state certification and licensing. it authorizes a billion dollars for the veterans job corps over five years, $900 million to employ 20,000 veterans in conservation, resource management, historic preservation projects on public lands and $100 million for cops and grants to hire veterans to serve as police and firemen. iraq and afghanistan veterans are given preference for all these positions. it creates a pilot program to improve veteran job search by providing veterans with access to internet and computers to assist them. it also provides military transition assistance programs to eligible veterans and their spouses at sites outside military installations to make it easier to find a job.
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rather than the current uneven state-by-state approach, the bill requires all states as a condition for receiving veteran employment and training funding to consider military training and experience when granting state certifications and licensing. how many times have you heard about this, mr. president? i sure have. someone who served in the military, driven vehicles, been involved in some technical capacity and then they come out and have to start from scratch all over again in each of our states to qualify for certification for a good-paying job. let's take into account that they have been trained by the best military in the world and give them credit for their experience and training they have in the military. this bill does that. also, the v.a. will ensure each state receives funding for at least one disabled veterans outreach program specialist, one local veterans unemployment representative for every 5,000 square miles. that's not too much. it's too little, frankly, but it's an important start. this bill is paid for, and it's a good bill. i hope that we can pass this
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this afternoon in the spirit of 9/11, remembering, sadly, the victims who lost their lives that day and the first responders who gave everything that they could give to try to save them, but also remembering those men and women, many of whom who were inspired by 9/11 to enlist in our military, to risk their lives and many gave their lives. over 6,500 to date. it's a reminder today that we have an ongoing, moral obligation to stand behind those veterans. i might also add, mr. president, that there is a lot of talk about the deficit and cutting spending, and i know that has to happen. i was on the simpson-bowles commission and understood that if we're going to bring our deficit under control, we have to cut spending, look to real entitlement reform and raise revenue. if you don't do all three, then frankly you won't achieve your goal. we have seen a budget proposed by the house republican budget leader, congressman paul ryan of
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wisconsin, the republican nominee for vice president, which unfortunately is -- does not reach that goal because he preserves tax cuts for the highest income people in this country instead of asking some sacrifice, some effort that they pay their fair share. he extends spending in the department of defense at beyond war-time levels despite the fact that president obama has successfully brought the war in iraq to a close and is doing the same in afghanistan. you can't do those two things and reach real deficit reduction in a meaningful way, in a timely way. unfortunately, congressman ryan's budget does not pass the basic test of arithmetic. i hope that when we consider important spending like this veterans job corps bill, that we find ways to pay for it, to offset it, and that when we talk about deficit reduction, we never do it at the expense of our veterans and we never do it at the expense of our national
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security but we do it honestly, acknowledging the fact that when it comes to the pentagon, there are areas where we can save money and not compromise our safety and security in any measure whatsoever. so, mr. president, i thank you for presiding today on this historic moment. i will mention that at 11:00, the house and senate democrats and republicans will gather on the east front for the commemoration of the 9/11 anniversary. we will be in session on the floor. i will be here asking for a moment of silence here as they will at the same time outside. it is a somber day in washington as we recall this great national tragedy, but it is a day of great hope because we saw how america responded on a bipartisan basis, and the great people who stepped forward and showed such extraordinary acts of courage since that day. mr. president, i yield the floor
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and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. udall: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: thank you, mr. president. let me start by asking unanimous consent that the following staff of the finance committee be allowed on the senate floor for the remainder of the 112th congress. sara butler, anderson hyman, luke johnson, roland smith, david swedman. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i have returned to the senate floor to pick up where i left off when congress adjourned a month ago, and that is to continue with my daily efforts to urge this congress, our congress, the house and the senate, to extend the wind production tax credit. i rise before the senate to discuss an industry that's created tens of thousands of good-paying jobs for american workers and has contributed billions of dollars, literally
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billions of dollars to our economy. mr. president, i think you know this and all of our colleagues should know this, that this is an industry that will be in grave trouble if we in the congress don't act soon. by that, i actually mean immediately to extend the wind production tax credit. we returned this week to congress in the wake of really sobering news about recent layoffs of american workers in our wind industry largely due to our inaction, congressional inaction on the wind production tax credit. i want to be very clear, mr. president. the wind industry has already begun firing american workers because we have failed to extend the wind production tax credit. it's that simple. you ask why. well, the p.t.c. has been a driver of the wind energy
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industry's enormous expansion in the u.s. as well as the growing investment in american workers that we've seen in the last several years. this critical tax credit expires at the end of the year, and if we don't vote to extend it manufacturing facilities may shut down. thousands more americans will lose their jobs, and the negative economic ripple effect -- this isn't a positive ripple effect, mr. president. this is a negative ripple effect; it will be felt in communities all across our nation. now let me be clear in a further way. it's already happening. this isn't conjecture. in my home state of colorado, workers who had good-paying jobs in the wind industry just a month ago when i stood here no longer do. that's right. over 100 coloradoans were let go of their jobs in the colorado wind industry just in the last month, and there are more job
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losses projected to follow. that's sobering to all of us, mr. president. on a more upbeat note, i come to the floor to talk about the production tax credit and each time i've come to the floor i've focused on a particular state because there's good news all across our country when it comes to wind energy. today i want to focus on vermont where the wind industry has grown faster than in many larger states. as a matter of fact, vermont has the second-highest rate of new wind installations than any state in 2011, growing over 650%. that's right, 650% growth in vermont. vermont has numerous installed wind projects in wind manufacturing sites throughout the state that currently power over 11,000 homes and enough wind power potential to provide 160% of the state's current
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electricity needs. one of our -- and that is america's leading wind energy production companies is n.r.g. systems, which is based in chittenden county in the northwestern corner of vermont. for 30 years n.r.g. systems has been a fixture in vermont's energy and technology industry. it serves the wind industry in particular by providing developers, utilities and turbine manufacturers with the tools they need to measure the wind. but with the looming end of the p.t.c., n.r.g.'s future growth in vermont is uncertain. and this is very clear, mr. president, because for the first time in their history, n.r.g. has had to lay off workers in vermont not once but twice this year. and their very capable c.e.o.,
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jan bliterstorf describe these firings as deeply unfortunate but necessary. their orders, n.r.g.'s orders are off 50% from just a few years ago because of our inaction and the uncertainty about wind energy's phi tour here in -- future here in our country is it encourages them to look overseas for new opportunities which then means you hasten the departure of good-paying jobs for skilled american workers who already are ready to go. so the point i'm trying to make, and i've seen my colleague, i've seen my colleague join me, i look forward to hearing his remarks. but the wind industry needs certain -- n.r.g. is an example of a company that needs
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certainty. we can lead the world in sustainable smart energy, but we have to extend the p.t.c. to stay on track. as i've said, for all these weeks i've been coming to the floor, this isn't just about my home state of colorado. i love my state of colorado. i think we're the best state in the union. but our country at large is really threatened by broad losses of jobs if we don't extend the production tax credit. i'm not going to stand by idly and observe the outsourcing of american jobs. i don't want to see the leadership and the clean energy future in any of our foreign competitors. that's why i keep coming back here day after day to urge my colleagues to work with me to pass the production tax credit. pretty simple, the production tax credit equals jobs. we ought to pass it as soon as possible. it's common sense. we have support from both sides of the aisle. i mentioned my great friend,
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senator sanders, he's joined me. i also want to mention that the esteemed chairman of the judiciary committee, the senior senator from vermont, senator sanders' colleague, was unable to join us this morning, but he's a stronger supporter of the p.t.c. and he will be placing a statement in the record as well. so let me close, mr. president, by urging all of us as soon as possible to extend the wind production tax credit. let's not let party affiliation or partisan politics interfere with doing what's right. without the wind p.t.c., more americans will be out of work and we will have further neglected our duty to pass commonsense policies that help american workers build a better future for themselves and their families. every day we don't act is a day more companies like n.r.g. systems in vermont are forced to lay off workers in our country, in the united states. these companies are then looking
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overseas for better opportunities. that's just flat-out unacceptable. mr. president, i conclude, i want my colleagues to know i'll be back on the floor tomorrow to talk further about this opportunity, but also this threat. i'll be back to talk about jobs, our economy, for america to lead in the clean energy space and the need for congress to take action today. mr. president, thank you for your attention. with that, i yield the floor. again, i want to acknowledge the great leadership of my friend from vermont. i look forward to hearing his remarks on this important production tax credit. mr. sanders: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: thank you, mr. president. let me begin by thanking senator mark udall for his continued focus on ensuring the congress extends the production tax credit. senator udall has been down on the floor time after time after
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time on this important issue, and we all owe him a deep debt of gratitude. thank you very much, senator. i also want to thank him for his very kind words about the n.r.g. company. we hope when you visit us in vermont you'll see it. they are a cutting edge company, they are an extraordinary company. and we're very proud of the work that they have done and are doing and are cognizant of the problems they're facing today, the layoffs that they have had to experience because congress has not passed the production tax credit. mr. president, as you know, this important incentive, the production tax credit, moves us forward in a direction that we must go in terms of producing safe, sustainable energy by providing 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour incentive for wind energy produced. mr. president, let's be very clear, and i think a lot of people perhaps in congress and certainly all over the country don't fully grasp this. i think some people still think
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that wind is some kind of cute fringe technology which is not very significant here in the united states of america. so let us be very clear, wind accounts for 35% of all new electric-generating capacity installed in our country over the last five years. more new electric capacity during that time than nuclear and coal combined. let me repeat it. wind accounts for 35% of all new electric-generating capacity installed in our country over the last five years. this is not some untested fringe technology. it is mainstream. wind today is producing electricity at very competitive rates. according to the department of energy, wind is producing electricity from between four cents to seven cents per kilowatt hour. that happens to be far cheaper
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than electricity produced by new nuclear plants. today the united states has over 48,000 megawatts of wind, and texas alone has over 10,000 megawatts. iowa and south dakota achieved the milestone of getting 20% or more of their electricity from wind. once again, this is not a fringe technology. this is a technology that is growing and that is cost effective. in my state of vermont, we are home to leading wind companies like northern power and n.r.g. systems in heinzberg. these companies sell wind energy products globally and create good-paying jobs in the state of vermont. the wind industry supports over 470 manufacturing plants nationally and some 78,000 jobs from one end of our country to the other.
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mr. president, if congress fails to act on the wind tax credit, we could see a hemorrhaging of some 37,000 wind energy jobs in the next year. we have already seen wind job losses in vermont due in part to the uncertainty. if you oppose the production tax credit, what you are saying to construction workers who want to build wind farms next year is sorry, you are out of work. and in the middle of this severe recession, we should not be saying that. mr. president, those opposing the wind credit say that congress should, quote unquote, not pick winners and losers. unfortunately for many, many decades, for better or for worse, congress has picked winners and losers. that's just the simple reality. one big winner is the bossell
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fuel industry, which is set to receive over $113 billion in subsidies over the next ten years. when folks come to the floor and they say we don't want to pick winners and losers, we don't want to give tax breaks and tax credits for wind or solar, the truth is that in a ten-year period, the fossil fuel industry will receive over $113 billion in subsidies. these subsidies include rather incredible loopholes, such as allowing b.p. to take a tax write-off for the cost of cleaning up their disastrous oil spill in the gulf. many of these tax subsidies for big oil and coal corporations never phase out and never expire. another big winner in terms of support from the federal government is the nuclear power industry. they get tens of billions of dollars in federal research and development. they get risky multibillion-dollar federal loan
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guarantees for new plants and they get the federal price-anderson liability insurance program which has been conveniently extended for over a half a century. and i raise these points to suggest that what we are asking for is fairly modest compared to what fossil fuel industry and the nuclear power industry received. mr. president, it is absurd that congress continues subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, for the nuclear power industry and yet is resisting providing support for safe and sustainable energy like wind. if we are serious about job creation and putting construction workers back to work, if we are serious about reversing global warming and cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions, we must be investing in the growing sustainable energy sector.
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at a modest cost compared to huge subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear and extension of the production tax credit can provide wind energy companies the certainty they need to invest in job creation in america. mr. president, i really want to congratulate senator udall for his excellent work and his leadership on this issue, and i look forward to working with him and all of my colleagues so that we extend the production tax credit and create a more level playing field for sustainable energy. and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: mr. president, 11 years ago this morning, september 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 of our citizens lost their lives in a senseless act of terrorism that would change the course of america forever. that fateful tuesday morning
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changed the way we think about life in america. it changed the way we travel. it changed the way we govern. it changed all of our lives with some, of course, sacrificing much more than others. from the first responders that ran into the crumbling buildings and wreckage 11 years ago today to the navy seals who brought bin laden to justice to the thousands of men and women in uniform who continue to defend our freedom, countless americans and their loved ones have served and sacrificed in the fight against terrorism for now more than a decade. the tragic events of september 11 have also led and resulted in a more vigilant nation and a more prepared and proactive defense security for the american people. the attacks highlighted several vulnerabilities across state and federal governments that had been ignored for too long.
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and many of those have been addressed and remedied. in the aftermath of this tragedy, congress put aside political partisanship and worked together with the administration and its departments to strengthen our national security and intelligence efforts. yet, today we face another major potential attack on our country different than those that we faced before but as dangerous and as threatening as ever. it's not a hijacked plane or a bomb, although that exists as a significant threat, but it's rather a cyber attack, an attack using the interconnected internet that governs some of our most critical infrastructure, an attack that comes across the wire or through the air, addressing a system and taking it down that has a dramatic impact on our country. as a member of the s
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intelligence committee, i that the threat of a cyber attack is real and far-reaching. a major attack on our cyber system could shut down our critical infrastructure, our financial systems, our communications systems, our electric grids, power plants, water treatment centers, transportation systems and refineries and other interconnected critical infrastructure that allow us to continue our economic efforts in this country and protect the safety of americans. every day, american businesses are victims of cyber intrusions and the threat and sophistication of these attacks is growing as we speak. earlier this year, f.b.i. director robert mueller warned that, and i quote -- "the cyber threat will pose the number-one threat to our country in the near future."
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now, mr. president, the reason i came here today, in addition to acknowledging the sacrifice of those that were made on september 11 and the sacrifice that have been made by tens of thousands if not millions of americans since then and the kind of efforts that have been put in place that will hopefully prevent us from such an attack in the future is to discuss a failure on the part of this congress to address this most imminent and threatening attack, the cyber attack that i previously mentioned. the week before the august recess -- and particularly in an election year, of course will always be filled with partisanship here in washington, but we really hit a low point this year in adjourning for the august recess as we rushed to vote on a cyber bill, which i did support, but did not convey
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the wishes of many of us who have worked for weeks and months to try to put something together that can gain consensus, bipartisanship and consensus. i voted for it so that we could pass it on and keep it alive and so that perhaps over the august recess and particularly coming back here with this session reopening in september, we could address this threat. with precious few weeks left before the election and precious few weeks after that before the end of the year, i did not believe we could possibly leave here without putting the protections in place that are necessary to provide adequate defenses against cyber attack on our critical infrastructure. 1/5 of the united states senate, both republicans and democrats, met every day for weeks and months to iron out our
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differences on this cybersecurity legislation. we recognize that our national security was at stake, and despite some genuine disagreements, we all participated because we thought we could find and had to find common ground. not just common ground among the two political parties but common ground between industry and government as well because industry plays a critical role in this effort. and with the active participation of 20 senators representing both parties in key committees of jurisdiction, we came close. unfortunately, politics threw a wrench in our plans before a negotiated settlement was reached. i remain hopeful, though, and i plan to keep working with my colleagues to find the right balance between government and industry, standards and incentives, free markets and national security. i was frustrated to discover that after sitting on the
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sidelines rather than working with congress on this critical debate, the president has signaled his desire to regulate cybersecurity by executive fiat. no one can do this alone. not one party, not government or industry and certainly not by executive order, which on its best day cannot begin to provide the robust incentives and information sharing required to achieve sufficient collaboration. congress must act to add cyber to its to-do list. i recognize that congress and this administration have a long list of remaining items to address before the end of the year -- the defense authorization bill, the looming so-called tax-mageddon which includes the scheduled increase in the current income tax rates, the alternative minimum tax patch, the estate tax, the research and development tax credit, other tax extenders, the
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fix for physician medicare reimbursements, the pacts of across-the-board cuts through sequester and another impending debt ceiling. all of this is before us with just a little bit of time left. but what needs to be near the top or at the top of this list is cybersecurity legislation that provides the flexibility, preserves the personal liberties and protects our country from a widespread cyber attack. let us learn from the lessons of september 11 and not wait for a major strike before we act. let's work together, democrats and republicans, congress and the white house, government and the private sector, to make our country a safer and more prosperous place. so i urge my colleagues to continue to work in a bipartisan manner to bring forward a responsible and balanced cybersecurity bill. the responsibility falls on all of us. we know that this threat is
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ongoing and real, and we know we need to act. and rather than acting alone, i call on the president to join with the members of this chamber and work together to do the right thing to cast aside partisanship and put the security of our country above political security. there is a lot of focus and a lot of emphasis on the election that lays before us. that's natural. but when we're facing a threat as imminent and as potential and as real as this, we must do everything that we can to transcend the politics of the day and to look at the policy that needs to be put in place to make our country safer and protect our citizens. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. coats: mr. president, i thought someone was prepared to speak. evidently not at this point, so i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois.
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mr. durbin: i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate will observe a moment of silence in recognition of the 11th anniversary of the attacks on september 11, 2001. [the senate is observing a moment of silence] [the senate is observing a moment of silence] mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, at this moment the majority leader, harry reid, and the republican leader, senator mitch mcconnell, are gathered on the east front of the united states capitol on the steps with members of the house of representatives, and it's a
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bipartisan gathering to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the terrible tragedy of 9/11. on that date the gathering was more spontaneous, but it reflected a feeling of unity which all of us felt in light of that national tragedy. toward the end of that gathering 11 years ago, senator barbara mikulski suggested that the members sing "god bless america," and they did. at the same time today during the course of this ceremony there will be a moment of silence, prayer as well as the singing of "god bless america" to sell pwra*eut the great effort -- to celebrate the great effort that has been made to keep america safe and to mourn the lives of those who lost their lives on 9/11. we remember today all of those who were lost and all those who suffered in the terrorist attacks on america. in their honor may we work to keep alive that sense of unity we felt on that day, and may we do our best to serve the loved
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ones they left and the nation that they loved. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. mr. heller: i ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. heller: i ask to speak for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. heller: today we come to the floor of the united states senate to remember and honor the victims of september 11, 2001. only 11 short years ago on this day, nesms of freedom and equality attacked the united states and murdered thousands of
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innocent people. from this attack, our nation grew stronger. the -- united by our beliefs, america rose to defend the homeland and take the battle to our enemies. and it has not been easy. no, it's been a long 11 years of combat in afghanistan and iraq. but our military and its leaders have brought the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, osama bin laden to justice, and for a decade, america has been safe from the next round of attacks that we all thought were imminent 11 years ago. none of this could have been accomplished without the brave men and women of our armed forces. on 9/11, the mission of our military changed overnight. those already enlisted knew they would be heading for war, and many more joined our military knowing that they, too, would be headed for combat. from the events of 9/11, the best of america was reborn. a new generation of americans
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dedicated to service and preservation of freedom were called to action because of 9/11. these americans were among the first on the ground in foreign countries. they toppled a dictator, liberated a nation of women and children from an oppressive regime and brought to justice osama bin laden. today our overseas operations fighting the war on terror continues, but for many of these soldiers, their tour of duty is over and they are coming home. they are coming home to family and friends and those who love them but also to a stagnant economy and record high unemployment. today, unemployment amongst those 9/11 veterans is 9.8%. 192,000 post-9/11 veterans are unemployed, and 443,000 9/11 veterans are not even participating in the labor force. the policy of this nation to
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grow the economy are failing these brave men and women who have fought to protect our freedoms, including economic freedoms. this week, the senate will take up a bill that will prode provide $1 billion over five years to hire 20,000 veterans. i am proud to support this measure and hope that we'll have the opportunity to debate it and other job-creating measures before we return home at the end of this work period. since coming to the senate, job creation has been my number-one priority. i will support taking up and debating any measure relating to this issue, especially those that affect veterans. that is why i was proud to reach across bipartisan lines to work to pass the vow to hire heroes act and know there is more work to be done. however, it is stunning that we're at this point. after a trillion dollar
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stimulus, bailouts after bailouts, a new government-run health care program that will raise taxes on all americans, it is time to look our veterans in the eyes and ask is this working? is this administration's policies working for the thousands of unemployed nevada veterans who have come back from their service to find their homes under water and their jobs lost in this great recession? mr. president, it is not working. the bill we are taking up this week is an acknowledgment that the policies of the past four years have not worked. as a result of the failed policies of this administration, nevada veterans cannot find a job. our veterans deserve better than this. they deserve a good-paying job, and that is why i will support this measure that will hopefully -- that we will hopefully take up this afternoon. but i also know that there is much more we can do to provide veterans the opportunity that
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they deserve. in addition to supporting cloture on the motion to proceed to this bill, i will also be filing my veterans' small business protection act as an amendment. this legislation i introduced along with ranking member burr of the veterans affairs committee provides that widows and dependents of service members killed in action are not alone to face life running a business while grieving over the loss of a loved one. congress has provided numerous benefits to our nation's veterans who own a small business. sole source contracting, low-interest loans and other resources in order to help these small businesses grow and to create jobs. my legislation closes a large gap in federal law that does little for those who own businesses before their activation and were killed in the line of duty. as a member of congress, we must honor our nation's fallen as well as ensure that the loved
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ones they leave behind have the same economic opportunities as afforded to that veteran. it's a small token that we can provide to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for liberty. i hope that we'll have the opportunity to offer amendments this week as we debate the veterans job corps legislation and encourage my colleagues to support my veterans small business bill. in closing, our nation owes a debt of gratitude to our nation's veterans and congress must fulfill the promises and commitments that have been made to all of them. this week, the senate will continue to work towards providing veterans with a good-paying job and i support that goal, but if we are going to help small businesses create jobs for veterans and all americans, we must change the policies coming from washington, d.c. because it isn't working. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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